Felix Morrow

Wendell Willkie’s Program

(May 1943)


Source: Fourth International, Vol.4 No.5, May 1943, pp.135-139.
Transcription & mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists’ Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2005. You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists’ Internet Archive as your source, include the url to this work, and note the transcribers & proofreaders above.


“Continuing by inertia the discussion on the liberation of the Philippines, the American imperialists are in reality preparing to establish for themselves a base in China, so as to raise at the following stage, in case of conflict with Great Britain, the question of the ‘liberation’ of India.” – 1934, War and the Fourth International.

Wendell Willkie’s book [1] is of course not an objective traveler’s impression but a campaign of one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. After his round-the-world trip, Willkie broadcast the substance of this book in speeches to some of the largest radio audiences of all time. Having demonstrated his ability to draw a crowd second to none, Willkie went home to Indiana in February to mend his political fences with considerable success, despite the traditional Republican taboo against a defeated Presidential candidate. “I call you now to the crusade of 1944 to save America,” Willkie appealed to the Republican machine. The New York Times conceded that he had sewed up the Indiana delegation. California’s Republican leaders have now invited him, to run in the state’s primary for an instructed delegation to the 1944 convention. Willkie is definitely out in front, and his book is his present platform for 1944.

Willkie lost the 1940 election (by a popular vote of 27,243,466 to 22,304,755; by an electoral vote of 449 to 82) because, despite John L. Lewis’ support, he appeared as the more reactionary candidate. A public utility man, he was obviously the preferred choice of Wall Street. In reading his book, it is clear he is determined to erase the label of reactionary. This is the primary motivation for much of his recent “liberal’’ criticism of administration policy: against Darlanism, for “resolute and aggressive action by the people” against censorship, against “armchair generals in Washington” who curb free speech, his demands for more aid to Russia and China; and his appearance before the Supreme Court on behalf of a Communist Party member’s right to citizenship. Willkie has the advantage of being able to criticize things which he would probably be doing himself were he in the White House. Such demagogy is inextricably part of capitalist electioneering. As Willkie told a Congressional committee when asked about a sharp criticism he had made of Roosevelt’s foreign policy during the 1940 campaign: “a bit of campaign oratory.”

Willkie’s slogan of anti-imperialism is also demagogy, but of a very different order. It is a falsehood necessary to the American capitalist class as a whole, central to its task during the coming crucial years. Only secondarily does it serve a partisan purpose, as when he complains that

“Before I left the country I was unable to get from officials of the government – high officials – any reassurance that the Atlantic Charter was meant to apply to the whole world.”

Here Willkie is simply taking sly advantage of the fact that Roosevelt must express himself more cautiously than private citizen Willkie. He and Roosevelt, and the weightiest sections of the capitalist class, are in substantial agreement on their world aims. In this connection Walter Lippman is quite correct when he says:

“Much has been made out of the differences among those who, like Messrs. Wallace, Hull, Welles, Hoover, Willkie and Stassen, are hammering out on the anvil of debate the next phase of American policy. But in fact the differences are small, often merely verbal, whereas the amount of common understanding and common purpose is remarkable.” (New York Herald-Tribune, February 2.)

What that common purpose is, and must be, can be stated in a few words. The United States emerged from the first world war as its principal beneficiary, superior to all the other empires in industrial technique, trade balance, stable currency, with Europe in its debt. These advantages and the internal market sufficed to maintain US economy for more than a decade after the war – years in which Europe was being ruined. But this base became insufficient and the crisis began in 1929. The New Deal, with its pump-priming and social concessions at home, and the “Good Neighbor” policy, with its financial investments and trade agreements abroad, failed to ameliorate the drawn-out “depression.” This was clear even before Nazi Germany and Japanese imperialism proceeded to narrow the already-too-small base of American imperialism. Hence the tasks of the coming war could not be limited to crushing them; that is only preliminary to the US moving into the spheres of its present allies.

This greatest of all imperialist enterprises Willkie labels “anti-imperialism.” He does so by the threadbare device of identifying imperialism exclusively with the forms of direct rule characteristic of the British, French and Dutch empires, whereas “American business enterprise, unlike that of most other industrial nations, does not necessarily lead to political control or imperialism.” This definition whitewashes dollar imperialism, the characteristic form of US domination. But the only difference between it and its rivals was stated by the Japanese envoys, in one of their last interviews with Hull, when they complained that Japan was “too poor” to employ American methods.

The difference between the two types of imperialism is expressed in the difference between colonies and semi-colonies. In neither case is there much difference in the intensity of economic exploitation of the masses. For example, the US-dominated banana republics of Central America, while politically “independent,” are as thoroughly exploited asi British Honduras.

Dollar imperialism has one great advantage over its rivals. It provides the “ruling” native bourgeoisie with somewhat larger scope and rewards than under the poorer imperialisms. There is of course no moral superiority in dollar imperialism. British capitalism would prefer to use the American methods, but does not have America’s wealth, and would long ago have been elbowed aside by America in India if the British Viceroy did not rule in New Delhi. Nor is dollar imperialism pacifist between major wars: when confronted with any resistance it resorts to the direct use of force (the marines in Nicaragua, Pershing’s expedition to Mexico) or political control (Washington’s refusal in 1934 to recognize the Grau San Martin government in Cuba was enough to overthrow it).

It is this dollar imperialism, labelled as “anti-imperialism,” which Willkie proposes to extend throughout the world by “liberating” the British, French and Dutch empires.

All US capitalist spokesmen agree on their world aims; their only disagreements concern method. The House of Morgan, for instance, proposes that after crushing Germany and Japan the US should return essentially to the forms of domination it employed between the two wars. The British Empire (J.P. Morgan & Co. are silent about the Dutch and French domains) should be left intact, to serve as junior partner in exploiting the world. For London knows how to “manage” colonial peoples and thus save Washington much trouble; and Britain would be a reliable ally in coming struggles, above all against the Soviet Union. This is substantially the argument made by the head of the House of Morgan, Thomas W. Lamont, in a three-column letter in the February 14 New York Times, obviously directed at Willkie’s attacks on the British Empire. “If Britain were to be crippled [by the loss of empire] can we then lean securely on Russia? on China?” Lamont asks, and answers no. He concludes that the US must have a powerful British Empire, at its side with which

“We can work together because of our common acceptance of certain fundamentals – our instinct for justice and fair play, our preference for an orderly world... our convictions that individual enterprise and democracy are inextricably dependent each upon the other. Finally, the English are the people with whom we share our fundamental religious convictions...”

Lament’s hypocritical formulas are those of a by-gone day; Willkie’s are streamlined instruments of the present epoch of American imperialism. The hoary appeal to religion is senile compared to the slogan of anti-imperialism.

Lament’s proposal to repeat the 1918-29 method of trying to “put Europe on rations” (as Trotsky called it) is for Willkie like trying to revive the horse and buggy. British government of India, Chinese seaports, the Middle East, must be broken. Then the US and Britain can compete on equal terms in those markets, i.e., America’s overwhelming financial and industrial superiority will assure it the lion’s share.

As for the argument – urged by many figures in the State Department – that Britain knows better how to “manage” the colonial peoples, Willkie reports a talk with British officers in Alexandria:

“I tried to draw out these men, all of them experienced and able administrators of the British Empire, on what they saw in the future, and especially in the future of the colonial system and of our joint relations with the many peoples of the East.

“What I got was Rudyard Kipling, untainted even with the liberalism of Cecil Rhodes... these men, executing the policies made in London, had no idea that the world was changing... no one of them had ever thought of it [the British colonial system] as anything that might possibly be changed or modified in any way... That evening started in my mind a conviction which was to grow strong in the days that followed it... that only new men and new ideas in the machinery of our relations with the peoples of the East can win the victory without which any peace will be only another armistice.” (p.8, my italics.)

[What he means] (text missing here – ETOL) by “new men” and “new ideas,” it is abundantly clear, Willkie means not British but American.

His hardly-concealed contempt for the British colonial rulers is moderated by the exigencies of the war situation; his criticisms (including a highly indignant description of the public health and economic conditions of the Middle East, which sounds like a description of the American rural south) are coupled with perfunctory indications of regard for some officials and things British. The same exigencies are less pressing in the case of the Dutch and French allies. He ignores Queen Wilhelmina altogether, taking it for granted she will never regain her colonies. He dismisses the Giraudists in the name of protest against the Darlanist policy of expediency, but he is even more venomous toward De Gaulle. Willkie – or his literary helper – writes devastatingly ironical passages about the General. In Beirut they talked in De Gaulle’s private room

“where every corner, every wall, held busts, statues and pictures of Napoleon. Frequently the general, in describing his struggle of the moment with the British as to whether he or they should dominate Syria and the Lebanon, would declare dramatically, ‘I cannot sacrifice or compromise my principles.’ ‘Like Joan of Arc,’ his aide added.” (p.11)
 

Willkie on Revolution

Willkie’s estimate of the incompetence of British colonial rule is buttressed with a fairly frank picture of the revolutionary ferment in the colonial world:

“A great process has started which no man... can stop. Men and women all over the world are on the march, physically, intellectually and spiritually. After centuries of ignorant and dull compliance hundreds of millions of peoples in Eastern Europe and Asia have opened the books. Old fears no longer frighten them. They are no longer willing to be Eastern slaves for Western profits... The big house on the hill surrounded by mud huts has lost its awesome charm.

“Our Western world and our presumed supremacy are now on trial. Our boasting and our big talk leave Asia cold. Men and women in Russia and China and in the Middle East are conscious now of their own potential strength. They are coming to know that many of the decisions about the future of the world lie in their hands. And they intend that these decisions shall leave the people of each nation free from foreign domination, free for economic, social and spiritual growth.” (p.85.)

Roosevelt did not permit Willkie to go to India on his trip. But he manages to draw India into the picture: “the question which has become almost a symbol all through Asia: what about India? ... From Cairo on it confronted me at every turn.” These revolutionary upheavals in the colonies, Willkie is saying, cannot be suppressed by the traditional methods of the British, French and Dutch imperialists. After witnessing large-scale maneuvers of a Chinese army in training, he says:

“For me, what I saw that afternoon and was to see again and again in China marked the end of an era – the era in which 400,000,000 Chinese could be kicked around by any army, Japanese or English or American, for that matter.”

“Surely we Americans can read the handwriting on the wall.” The handwriting dooming Britain’s rule in Asia. “No foot of Chinese soil should be or can be ruled from now on except by the people who live on it.” Furthermore, China wants freedom not only for itself but also “a free Asia,” i.e., the end of British rule in India. “Perhaps the most significant fact in the world today is the awakening that is going on in the East.” Not Britain but China must be America’s principal ally (agent) in Asia.

“We must decide whether or not we can ever find a better ally in eastern Asia than the Chinese, and if the answer is negative, as I predict it will be, then we must be prepared to fulfill the obligations of an ally.” (p.64.)

If the US were to support British colonial rule, then the colonial revolutionists would turn not only against Britain but also against the system of world capitalism, Willkie warns. This process is imminent not only in India but also in the apparently quiet Middle East:

“In every city I found a group – usually a small group – of restless, energetic, intellectual young people who knew the techniques of the mass movement that had brought about the revolution in Russia and talked about them. They knew also the history of our own democratic development. In their talk with me they seemed to be weighing in their minds the course through which their own intense, almost fanatical, aspirations should be achieved.” (p.11, my italics.)

In other words, these intellectuals, if left without allies in the capitalist world, will turn to socialist revolution. Willkie is particularly alarmed by the “complete absence of a middle class” in the Middle East and the consequent chasm separating the great masses from the handful of landowners.
 

Willkie’s Turkish Model

Turkey receives a special chapter in Willkie’s book and it is often mentioned in his speeches. “Turkey, today, is a symbol which stands for something more than half the human race.” More exactly, it is the symbol of the kind of national revolution that Willkie would like to see in the colonial world. It is a “safe” revolution – safe for world capitalism. That it is “safe” because the Turkish bourgeoisie crushes opposition among the masses with ruthless ferocity, maintaining a totalitarian regime in which only the Peoples Party is permitted a legal existence, Willkie – ostensibly the protagonist of democracy as well as independence – deliberately ignores. More, he has the effrontery to say of this regime that “it looked good to me because I thought I saw... that the ideas of increasing health, education, freedom, and democracy are as valid in the oldest portions of the world as they are in the newest.” (p.17, my italics.)

He is ready to call this freedom and democracy because Turkey now exhibits one supreme virtue: it is moving into the orbit of America. This is what he means by the “deeper trend of the awakening people of Turkey towards closer relations with the world’s great democracies.” These, “democracies” do not include Britain. It was British destruction of the Ottoman Empire which reduced it to its Turkish core, and Lloyd George attempted to reduce that to a semi-colonial status by instigating the Greek war of 1920-22 against Turkey. With its ties to the insurgent Moslem masses of the British colonies and its friction with Greece and other British spheres of influence, Turkey has remained anti-British. Its orientation to the US would provide Washington with an important base for Asiatic and Islamic agitation against the British Empire. Nor are its economic resources negligible.

“They produce nearly one quarter of the world’s supply of chrome. Their tobacco and their cotton are badly needed by other countries,” Willkie writes. “And I have been greatly pleased that since my return we have been sending them increasingly large quantities of foodstuffs and other materials.”

Willkie says nothing about Soviet-Turkish relations except to note discreetly that Turkey “is troubled about Russia’s ultimate designs,” but it is obvious he has thought much about the significance of Turkey’s increasing trend away from the Soviet Union.

Lenin granted Turkey extremely generous frontiers and supplied a considerable part of the arms for Turkey’s struggle against Greece. The large volume of Soviet trade and technological aid in building its infant industries made possible Turkey’s continued independence. Despite enormous British-French pressure to force it into the League of Nations, and thus into their sphere of influence, Turkey remained outside with the help of its Soviet neighbor. At the Lausanne Conference (1922-23) firm Soviet backing saved Turkey from a revival of capitulations (imperialist courts for foreigners on Turkish soil, etc.). But as Stalinism revealed more and more its narrow national outlook, Soviet-Turkish relations worsened, especially when Stalin entered the League of Nations. Finally, Stalin’s seizure of “strategic frontiers” during his pact with Hitler aroused in Turkey the fear that he would eventually attempt to seize the strategic Dardanelles. The Turkish bourgeoisie began to look for an imperialist patron, a process inevitable for the bourgeoisie of any small or economically-backward country, and which it had hitherto been saved from only by leaning on the Soviet Union.

Here is a significant instance of how the USSR has lost its attractive power under Stalinism; Willkie wants to take full advantage of it.

Were he successful, his Turkish model would look very different in a few years. It would inevitably tend to lose the real content of independence to the American monopolies. Willkie is holding up this model to the view of the colonial world at the moment when the model still looks its best. But there was a time when the banana republics were as independent as Turkey is now.
 

Willkie on the Soviet Union

With a few demands for a second front and inclusion of the Soviet Union in the top council of the “United Nations,” Willkie quite cheaply won for himself the plaudits of the Stalinist press as a “friend” of the USSR. Some of the more stupid elements of the Republican Party also took his praise of Stalin as good coin, and his rivals for the Presidential nomination are trying to use it against him. Thus Governor Stassen, reviewing Willkie’s book in the April 11 New York Times, writes: “There would seem to be an overemphasis of the wrongs of the British colonial administration and an understatement of the evils of communism.” But this is the small-change of inner-party politics, and Willkie depends on the nomination primarily through the superiority of his program. He is confident that the weightiest sections of the capitalist class will understand his program for what it really is, valuing it all the more for its liberal veneer.

Willkie’s book is colder to the Soviet Union than his speeches last October, when the Red Army was on the defensive: like the capitalist class as a whole his ardor cooled during the Red Army’s winter successes.

There are hotly-debated differences within the American ruling class concerning policy toward the Soviet Union. One group, represented by the New York Times, is opposed to conceding to Stalin the frontiers he demands (the Baltic states, Bessarabia, the territories seized in 1939-40 from Poland and Finland). Another, for which the New York Herald-Tribune speaks, is more conciliatory. These differences, however, are within the framework of a common outlook. All responsible spokesmen for American capitalism are agreed that the exigencies of the war, and the moral prestige of the Red Army as bearer of the main brunt of the Nazi attack, dictate an attitude of ostensible friendship toward the Soviet Union for the present. Equally, all are agreed that the nationalized property of the Soviet Union constitutes a mortal danger for capitalist private property and must be hemmed in as much as possible until that day they dream about when the Soviet Union will be destroyed or the Soviet bureaucracy will be compelled to re-institute private property.

But what should they do about the USSR in the immediate future? Willkie warns that “Europe in 1917 was probably in much the same mood” as he found everywhere on his trip. “Then, in 1917, Lenin gave the world one set of answers,” he ominously reminds his class.

Dare American imperialism refuse to come to terms with Stalin, in the face of the coming revolutionary wave? This is the question which Willkie poses in roundabout language. He is extremely cautious about what he would offer Stalin in return for his aid in crushing revolution. He does not concede Stalin’s frontier claims; he avoids that by pretending that what Stalin wants is not yet known and criticising “the failure of Mr. Stalin to announce to a worried world Russia’s specific aspirations with reference to eastern Europe.” But he also warns the die-hards of his own class that they cannot expect that the USSR will be so weakened by the war that Stalin can be bought cheaply. “I must admit in all frankness that I was not prepared to believe before I went to Russia what I now know about its strength as a going organization of men and women,’’ he records; and he even speaks of “Russia and America, perhaps the most powerful countries in the world...”

He makes the usual pseudo-democratic criticisms of Stalinist totalitarians – which he falsely attributes to Marxism – but he also has uneasy clear insights into the sources of Soviet strength. It came to him with something of a shock

“That there is hardly a resident of Russia today whose lot is not as good as or even better than his parents’ lot was prior to the revolution.”

He sees how the nationalized economy, though still lagging behind American technique, is expanding at rates never equalled by capitalist production in its progressive period – not to speak of present capitalist stagnation – and how it provides scope for the energies and talents of the great masses even under Stalinism. He summarizes this fact in the words he attributes to a Soviet engineer whom he had told that he had no freedom:

“He drew himself up almost belligerently and said, ‘Mr. Willkie, you don’t understand. I’ve had more freedom, than my father and grandfather ever had. They were peasants. They were never allowed to learn to read or write. They were slaves to the soil. When they sickened, there were no doctors or hospitals for them. I am the first man in the long chain of my ancestors who has had the opportunity to educate himself, to advance himself – to amount to anything. And that for me is freedom. It may not seem freedom to you, but, remember, we are in the developing stage of our system. Someday we’ll have political freedom, too’.”

This statement on the significance of the nationalized economy is colored first by a Stalinist apology for the lack of political freedom and second by Willkie’s philistine formulation of it. Even so, it betrays his involuntary respect for the enduring foundations of the October revolution.

After his return from the Soviet Union, Willkie’s first speeches indicated confidence that the US would find it quite easy to bring Stalin into line. That, however, was before the Red Army’s successes. Now he warns the die-hards that the Soviet government is weighing various alternatives:

“What is Russia going to do? Is she going to be the new disturber of the peace? Is she going to demand conditions at the end of the war that will make it impossible to re-establish Europe on a decent peaceful road? Is she going to attempt to infiltrate other countries with her economic and social philosophy?

“Frankly, I don’t think anyone knows the answer to these questions; I doubt if even Mr. Stalin knows all the answers.

“Obviously, it would be ridiculous for me to attempt to say what Russia is going to do... but there’s one thing I know: that such a force, such power, such a people cannot he Ignored or disposed of with a high hat or a lifting of the skirt.” (p.42.)

With an eye to Republican critics like Stassen who are labelling him as insufficiently anti-Soviet, Willkie cautiously concludes that “I believe it is possible” for Russia and America “to work together... At least, knowing that there can be no enduring peace, no economic stability, unless the two work together, there is nothing I ever wanted more to believe.” Beset on the one hand by rabidly anti-Soviet capitalists and timid politicians who keep putting off the problem of finding agreement with Stalin, and on the other hand uneasily discerning that the revolutionary dynamics of the nationalized economy both strengthen Stalin’s hand and may get beyond his anti-revolutionary control, Willkie finally ends up with no policy at all toward the Soviet Union for the immediate future. He keeps repeating that “it is clearly necessary to reach substantial agreement with our allies,” but what that means in the case of the Soviet Union remains an enigma when Willkie’s book is finished. It is an empty generality, to be filled with as much anti-Soviet content as the relation of forces will permit as events unfold.
 

What Willkie Leaves Out

Let us concede that Willkie sincerely desires a world of formally independent nations living at peace with each other. Let us even grant that he, would not want to send marines to open doors which some nations might insist on closing, and that he would go to great lengths to remain at peace with the Soviet Union. At this point Willkie’s program leaves off. But where he stops the real problems of American capitalism begin.

As if it were not obvious enough, Churchill has told Willkie that he has not come to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire; “We mean to hold what we have.” Willkie was, he says, “shocked” by those words, but that will not change Churchill’s mind. It will take the bloodiest convulsions in the history of mankind to win the independence of the subject peoples of Britain, above all India’s four hundred millions. “Without India the British Empire could not exist,” said Lord Curzon in 1892, and it became truer with every passing day as Britain’s commercial and industrial superiority waned. Curzon warned the British bourgeoisie that its last desperate battle will be in Asia:

“The future of Great Britain... will be decided not in Europe... but in the continent whence our emigrant stock first came, and to which as conquerors their descendants have returned.” [2]

Unless forestalled by a proletarian revolution in England, the British bourgeoisie will fight in India so long as it can mobilize cannon fodder.

To smash British rule will require a gigantic effort of the Colonial masses. To summon the Indian masses into the struggle against Britain, however, means to encourage their own demands – against the landlords and usurers and capitalists. Hence the colonial bourgeoisie fears to summon the masses, and is therefore incapable of overthrowing British rule. The Indian bourgeoisie has demonstrated this once again during the past year. One can predict with confidence that the struggle for independence at the next stage in India will be directed not only against the British Raj but also against the Indian landlords and capitalists. That is not what Willkie prescribes, but history will not follow his recipe.

Willkie’s Turkish model is not the mirror of India’s future. The Turkish landlords and capitalists were an experienced and able ruling class, long accustomed to govern although handicapped by the Sultanate and the church hierarchy. When the long-ailing Ottoman Empire wate finally dismembered, the Turkish bourgeoisie, still ruling Turkey proper, threw off their archaic handicaps; Kemal Pasha, leader of the “Young Turk” revolution, was at the time the Sultan’s Inspector-General, i.e., actual ruler of Anatolia, the core of Turkey. Even this firm grip of the bourgeoisie did not prevent the rise of a mass movement and a Communist Party, which Kemal Pasha had to go to great lengths to destroy – including the formation of his own “Communist” Party.

In China, Willkie’s other model, the struggle against British imperialism in 1925-27 speedily turned into social revolution; the mass strength that organized to smash Britain’s puppet warlords also struck at landlordism. Chiang Kai-shek succeeded (with Stalin’s aid) in crushing the revolution, but at the cost of halting and backtracking China’s march to independence.

If this happened in semi-colonial China, where the Chinese bourgeoisie began with its own provincial governments and its own armies, what would happen in colonial India where the native bourgeoisie can begin with nothing but the elemental masses striving for their own ends? Willkie proposes independence for India as an alternative to social revolution; but in the living process they are one and the same.

Even if, by waging war against Britain, the American capitalists directly intervened to help “liberate” India, American troops “aiding” the Indian bourgeoisie as a substitute for the masses in driving out the British, the final result would be the same. Either the American troops would remain, merely replacing the British oppressors, and the struggle for independence would go on with the added advantage that the Indian masses would be fighting new rulers unfamiliar with the intricate problems facing them. Or, once the American troops withdrew, the insoluble problems of the Indian bourgeoisie, above all the agrarian revolution, now held down only by British armed support of the landlords and usurers, would explode.

What would the British bourgeoisie do at the first slight indications of concrete American support of Indian “independence”? To strip the British might be relatively simple if the two empires were to fight it out in a vacuum. But there are other powers in the world – and the Soviet Union. Faced with the loss of empire, the British bourgeoisie would resort to the most desperate measures against the US, including even turning toward Stalin. Even now Willkie, if he were in the White House, would be hard-put to decide the daily problems arising in the three-cornered jockeying among British, the US and the Soviet Government.

The “democracies” have still to crush Nazi Germany. They are doing all they can to manage it so that the Soviet Union will emerge hopelessly weakened. But the Soviet Union is not the passive object of their strategy, as has been demonstrated by the Kremlin’s reactions to their encouragement of Sikorski’s attacks. London seeks to restrain Washington for fear that Stalin will be driven to the point of desperation where he will gamble in Europe, as he is already doing with the partisans in Yugoslavia and Poland, with forces which in the end may slip from his control and unleash the proletarian revolution in Europe. And London uses its own fears as evidence in Moscow that it is “friendlier” than Washington. Stalin, who fears revolution as much as Roosevelt and Churchill, at the same time is equally fearful of their designs.

While this jockeying goes on, the forces of revolution are accumulating under the Nazi boot in Europe, under the Japanese in the Pacific, under the British in India, under Chiang Kai-shek. All three “allies” understand very well that what is needed is a firm policy, whether with or against each other in order to meet the coming revolutionary wave. But while they maneuver for position among themselves, the wave may burst over their heads. Willkie’s empty generalities about “one world” fail to provide his class with the solution for this immediate situation. Yet the most important question in politics is precisely this: What next?

Finally, Willkie reckons without his host – the American workers. Apart from clucking sympathy for the Negroes, he has not a word to say about the toilers of the US. If this book is any criterion, his 1944 platform will differ from that of 1940 only in offering the workers a pot of gold outside the United States. The first assumption (hope) of Willkie’s world program is that the American capitalists will have a free hand at home. But, as the miners are just now forcefully indicating, the collapse of Hitler will be the prelude to class struggles at home which may curtail Willkie’s adventures abroad very quickly. Not in the historical sense in which it is always true, but also in the most immediate sense, we are confident, Willkie will find that the main enemy is at home.

 

Footnote

1. One World, by Wendell Willkie. 86 double pages. Simon & Schuster, 1943, $1 (paper cover).

2. Hon. George N. Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, London 1892, Introduction.

 


Last updated on: 5.1.2006